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An A – That’s What I Deserve!

Throughout the course of the opinion journalism class, I feel that I have expressed my opinion to a degree that allowed my fellow classmates to understand my positions regarding an assortment of issues. Unfortunately, my intellectually superior professor feels this is not the case.

Admittedly, some of my presentation blogs were sub par. However, I feel that some of the topics posed limitations to my creative abilities. On the other hand, perhaps I should have implemented my cure for writer’s block during that period. Be that as it may, I feel that I deserve an A in this course because I, in my opinion, expressed my thoughts and positions regarding a wide range of issues respectfully and thoughtfully. My posts may not appear to be that thought provoking to some, but I think the general consensus among those who have read my posts is that they were sufficient and made my position(s) clear.

I respect my professor’s superior intellect, and I have learned a lot from this individual. It is also very satisfying to know that he did not judge me based on some of my positions regarding controversial issues. Unfortunately my opinions were not clearly stated from his point of view. Although I disagree with this assessment, I am appreciative of his constructive criticism.

Attendance in this class was not an issue for me, and I think that should be factored into my grade along with my positions regarding the issues discussed throughout the course of the semester. Now that I have made my opinion abundantly clear, I have decided to devote a portion of this blog to some first class brown-nosing.

This was by far one of my favorite classes throughout the course of my college career. Opinion journalism–that sound’s like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? That was my thought initially, but I have a new found respect for editorial writers. In order to be an effective editorial writer, you have to forget about other peoples’ perceptions of you based on your positions in print. That seems easy, but a lot of pressure can put on an individual who voices his/her stance on a controversial issue that conflicts with the majority population’s position.

One thing about my professor that was appealing to me was his implementation of the voting at the end of each Tuesday class. After the final student’s presentation, the class voted on whose presentation was the best. The winner was allowed to choose the editorial topic for the week. This was gratifying to me because I was able to choose a topic that I know some students had no desire to write about. However, it did those students some good, in my opinion. There were a few weeks when I had to write about lame topics that didn’t even remotely appeal to me, but I feel that it broadened my intellectual capabilities.

DJDoit, I appreciate everything you have taught me–not only in this class, but in intro to journalism,news reporting/writing, and online journalism. I initially thought you were a very subjective grader, and I can’t count how many times I left your class discouraged and angry after you ripped one of my stories to shreds with red ink. On the other hand, perhaps you saw something in my writing that made you feel obligated to pressure me into producing higher quality work.

At the risk of tooting my own horn, I honestly feel that I am the best AP style writer in the public relations program, and I feel that I am up there with the best writers in the journalism program. You have contributed significantly to my progression as a writer and reporter, and I can’t thank you enough for putting the pressure on me to succeed. I can’t even begin to explain how much I feel my skills have progressed since the Fall of 2008, and I appreciate you pushing me to reach my full potential. Thanks, DJDoit. I’ve enjoyed your courses, and I wish you all the best in the future.



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The Wire – Reflecting American Culture

The Wire is possibly the greatest show on television, and it reflects the dark side of American culture.

The show focuses on the drug trade in Baltimore, Maryland. The show depicts the slums of Baltimore, as well as the politics that take place regarding the “War on Drugs.” Perhaps the greatest thing about this show is that you can learn new things every time you watch an episode.

It comes as no surprise that there is a lack of government funding in urban areas, and Baltimore clearly falls into this category. With crooked cops and politicians directing the “War on Drugs,” there is likely no end in site. One character in the show stated that it is not fair to call it a war because wars end. This, in my opinion, is the absolute truth.

The Wire gives an inside look at the corruption in politics, with politicians accepting campaign funding from notorious cocaine and heroin dealers. This is unfortunately reflective of American culture because it is not beyond the bounds of reason to assume that our politicians accept dirty money. Our own president accepted funds from Goldman Sacs. I will not say that the funds were dirty, but it definitely a possibility.

David Simon and Ed Burns are the creators of The Wire, and they served as a journalist and police officer, respectfully. Their depictions of the drug trade in Baltimore were frighteningly realistic, and it is extremely unfortunate that the depictions are reflective of American culture.

Breaking the Law Because it was His Duty

Many feel the law of the land should be abided by at all cost, but should the law be abided by at the expense of an individual’s suffering?

Dr. Jack Kevorkian was born in 1928, and he was known by many as “Dr. Death” due to his stances on euthanasia. Euthanasia was translated from a Greek word, and the approximate translation is “good death.” Euthanasia is frequently defined by its supporters as helping an individual who is suffering to die with dignity and without suffering. Many consider it to be a merciful thing to do.

Many people have issues with euthanasia, or as many call it, mercy killing, because of morality aspects. Many feel that it goes against God, and some feel that euthanizing patients is an attempt to play God. Well, let me present this question: When you attempt to cure someone who is sick instead of letting the immune system deal with the disease naturally, aren’t you playing God by your own logic?

Dr. Jack Kevorkian took a different approach to this issue, and in my opinion, a much more logical one. Dr. Kevorkian considered the right to die to be a basic personal right that had nothing to do with laws of the government. If there comes a time when a suffering patient expresses a desire to die, then it is the physican’s duty to grant the patient’s wishes, according to Dr. Kevorkian.

When Kevorkian witnessed the suffering of terminally ill patients, this convinced him that they had a moral right to end their lives once the pain became unbearable, and that doctors should assist in this process. He eventually designed and constructed a machine that started a harmless saline intravenous drip into the arm of a person wishing to to be euthanized. When the patient was ready, he or she would press a button that would stop the flow of the harmless solution and begin a new drip of thiopental. This chemical would cause the patient to fall into a deep sleep, then a coma. After one minute, the timer in the machine would disperse a lethal dose of potassium chloride into the patient’s arm, thus causing the heart to stop within minutes. The patient would quickly, painlessly, and easily die of a heart attack while in a deep sleep, according to Kevorkian.

Dr. Kevorkian eventually faced murder charges in 1994, but jurors agreed with the argument that there was no statute against assisted suicide in the state of Michigan, and thus Kevorkian could not be found guilty.

Dr. Kevorkian’s team of defense lawyers won yet another acquittal. They successfully argued that a person may not be found guilty of criminally assisting a suicide if that person had administered medication with the intentions of relieving pain and suffering, even it if did hasten the risk of dying. Kevorkian was prosecuted four times in Michigan for assisted suicides, and he was acquitted in three of those cases; the fourth case was declared a mistrial.

The Michigan legislature enacted a law that made assisted suicide a felony punishable by a maximum five year prison sentence or a $10,000 fine. A law went into effect months prior to a ballot proposition legalizing assisted suicide being defeated by Michigan voters. This closed the loophole on relief of pain and suffering, which Kevorkian’s lawyer’s relied upon to obtain acquittals. This statute provides that a person who is aware of another person’s intentions to kill himself and proceeds to provide the means, participate in the suicide, or help to plan the suicide, is guilty of a felony.

All things considered, Dr. Kevorkian proceeded with what he felt was right. He challenged authorities to arrest and prosecute him, and he took the ultimate step in the assisted suicide of Thomas Youk when instead of asking the patient to press the button that would inject a lethal dose of drugs into the patients system, Kevorkian proceeded to do so himself after speaking gently to the man suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Kevorkian was eventually arrested in Michigan for first-degree murder. In this case, when he injected the patient with the lethal drugs, he committed euthansia, or mercy killing, not assisted suicide. Kevorkian faced an additional charge under the felony law that bans assisted suicide, and this went into effect approximately two weeks before the Lou Gherig’s disease patient’s death. Kevorkian decided to represent himself in the murder trial. He was convicted of the lesser offense of second degree murder by a Michigan jury March 26, 1999.

Kevorkian continues his campaign for legalized physician-assisted suicides. He felt that through his practices he was doing his best for patients who were terminally ill and suffering great discomfort. Kevorkian raised national awareness of assisted suicide and forced the courts and legislatures to make decisions on this controversial issue, and I applaud him for his courage and dedication. I fully agree that the right to die is a basic personal right.

Why Should I Be Hired?

Public relations, journalism, marketing, advertising, and any other form of communication presents a very competitive field, so it is important to stay ahead of the game and go the extra mile. I feel that I have done just that over the past two years, and that is why I am a fine candidate for employment.

Throughout the last two years, I have acquired hands-on professional experience in the fields of public relations and journalism. My public relations experience increased significantly in the Spring of 2009 when my event team planned and coordinated the first annual Statesboro Film Festival at the Averitt Center for the Arts. Our client was the Statesboro Herald, and this proved to be a benefit because they were able to see my work ethic. I firmly believe this was the catalyst for boosting my motivation and ambition in this field. My team was successfully able to work through issues surrounding the event and turn the event into a major success. Our long-term goal was to make the Statesboro Film Festival an annual event, and the second Statesboro Film Festival recently took place in 2010.

I also served as a journalism and public relations intern for Georgia Southern’s Office of Marketing and Communications last summer, and I was able to hone my skills in the fields of public relations and journalism. Throughout the course of my internship, I gained experience in news reporting and feature writing, as well as strategic public relations planning and internal communications. If I was not strategizing with my superiors and colleagues on ways to implement the “True Blue” campaign, I was honing my journalism skills by conducting interviews with various individuals for feature stories for the My Georgia Southern website and Georgia Southern Magazine.

Not only did my work get published in Georgia Southern Magazine, but also in the Statesboro Herald. I submitted a press release to the Statesboro Herald last summer about a West Coast sports marketing trip consisting of GSU Sports Management students, and the Statesboro Herald felt inclined to run my press release in print.

My most recently published news print story was on Gary Dartt’s final project, The Visit, at GSU’s Performing Arts Center. This story really helped me hone my journalism skills because I sat down with Mr. Dartt for an in-depth interview to aid in my retrospective of his career. After a significant amount of editing due to length issues, my story was published in the front page below the fold. This was very gratifying and reflective of my work and dedication to the project. Prior to publication, I began to wonder if I had taken on too much. I was writing the story because I took on a position as a co-public relations coordinator with Theater South, GSU’s Theater and Performance program’s promotional team. I kept asking myself why I would take on such a task when I wasn’t even receiving credit for it, but I always told myself in the back of my mind that it would help build my character as well as my resume.

I was under the supervision of Dr. Lisa Abbott throughout the course of my time with Theater South, and she is by far one of the sweetest and most thoughtful individuals I have ever come in contact with. Although she became frustrated with me at times, I feel that she was ultimately pleased with the end result. “The Visit” received front page coverage, and I never would have accomplished a front page publication without her guidance.

The moral of this post is this: GO THE EXTRA MILE. I have lived the college life–drinking, parties, late nights, etc., but there comes a time when you have to put your future first. Once I found a field I was interested in and became involved, I grew to love it. As cheesy as it sounds, I have a genuine love for the fields of public relations and journalism. In essence, I guess that’s why it was not a difficult choice to take on everything I agreed to take on my senior year. My schedule has kept me extremely busy, but that is a good thing. I feel that if I am capable of juggling multiple projects throughout the course of a semester, then I will be fully capable of juggling multiple projects in the workforce.

My Favorite Supervillain

I’ve never been much of a comic book reader, nor have I ever seriously gotten into superheros and supervillains, but I can only think of one supervillain if I had to make a choice of my favorite.

How can you not love the Joker? As sick and twisted as he is, he always finds a way to smile about everything. Perhaps we should take his stance to a certain extent and always look at the brighter side of things?

I was impressed with Jack Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker in Tim Burton’s 1989 film Batman, but Heath Ledger redefined the role of the Joker in my honest opinion. It’s hard to picture anyone trying to fill those shoes because that would be one hard act to follow.

The Joker has to be without a doubt one of the coolest supervillains in comic book history. Think about it, how many people can wear a purple suit with clown makeup and green hair and still be stylin’ and profilin’?

ZERO. That’s how many. Another thing to consider about the Joker is his ruthlessness. It is not about manipulating the mob to make money. It’s about being the best criminal he can be. Not to say that I agree with his position, but I admire him for his ambition, all things considered.

In closing, I guess I will take the Joker’s advice and look at the brighter side of things. He’s a purple suit havin’, green hair sportin’, clown makeup wearin’ scumbag, but he’s the best scumbag he can be. At least he has that going for him–that and being my favorite supervillain.

“The Visit” to Statesboro

I haven’t been to many plays in my life, but I can honestly say that I thoroughly enjoyed “The Visit” at Georgia Southern’s Performing Arts Center.

Prior to show time, I had heard from a number of people that the story was not all that entertaining and I would likely be asleep by the third act, but this was not the case at all. It was quite entertaining to see familiar faces immerse themselves into these characters. I felt many of the actors “owned” their parts.

The story was appealing to me because it actually related to modern day issues despite being depicted decades ago. The story makes you ask yourself, “At what point do I completely disregard my morals to make a buck?”

Actors who stood out in my opinion were Robert Meguiar and Geoff Carr. Their characters were the most believable to me, and I felt they both “owned” their parts. I’m definitely not Roger or Ebert, but I would give the play as a whole two thumbs up. It was entertaining and presented a story that anyone in today’s economy can somewhat relate to.

My Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

Kudos for providing an educated, logical, and thoughtful point of view regarding industrial hemp in an issue of the George-Anne Daily. It is satisfying to see that there are other educated advocates out there who are able to have their voices heard.

Although the George-Anne Daily remains neutral in its position, it is great that it has allowed someone to publish his viewpoints on such a controversial issue. You should be applauded.

A noteworthy part of the article was the distinction between marijuana and hemp, and this is an important aspect that many people do not acknowledge. I am willing to bet that many people were unaware that hemp contained less than 1% of the psychoactive ingredient found in marijuana prior to reading the article. The article was informative and well written, and I am very happy that others are speaking out.